Your Guide to eLearning Localization|
E-Learning has been gaining massive popularity due to its high accessibility, flexibility, and success rate. The covid-19 pandemic period (we’d much rather forget about) has clearly shown that e-learning is as reliable as any corporate training and learning programme form out there, if not more so.
In fact, statistics show that learners who engage in online learning can potentially retain up to 60% of the information learned during a course. In comparison, learning under a traditional classroom setting typically results in a significantly lower retention rate of only 10%.
The reason for this is evident: eLearning enables students to engage with various course elements, from interactive quizzes to situation-based activities – this helps transform the learning experience from dull and formulaic to engaging and ultimately more memorable.
Apart from the effectiveness of online learning, its biggest upside arguably comes down to the fact it can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. One can easily squeeze in an eLearning programme in their daily work routine, for example.
But is that all? Not really! The good news is that eLearning platforms are gradually adopting the concept of eLearning localization. But, what does that really entail? Well, let’s find out!
What is eLearning Localization?
eLearning localization is a process that involves the translation of online learning content into various languages to meet the language needs of the global market. When a company aims to make its course available internationally, adapting its content to suit the needs of their target consumer market is key.
is where localization services come into play. Companies specializing in eLearning localization, like Pangea Global, focus on translating and transcreating online courses to ensure that all of your potential international customers can access them.
How to Find the Right LMS Suitable for Multilingual Courses
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application or platform that’s designed to facilitate the creation, delivery, management, and tracking of educational content and training programs.
eLearning software developers offer a plethora of LMS you can choose from. Some of the providers to check out when offering commercial eLearning services include Blackboard, Desire To Learn, SumTotal, eCollege, and Saba.
Ultimately, choosing the right LMS is a key step in delivering your course to an international audience. A high-quality and reliable LMS will help you deliver and present your eLearning course in an effective and engaging way to your learners, allowing you to enhance their learning experience and boost their learning outcomes.
Here are some useful tips to aid you in your selection:
Consider Your Target Audience First
Certain LMSs support some languages that others don’t. Therefore, gathering information about the language or dialect your audience speaks in or prefers can help you pick a platform that supports it.
Make Sure You Choose a Cloud-based LMS
Cloud-based LMSs are a far better choice when it comes to engaging remote or geographically dispersed learners. They’re ideal because they’re easily accessible from anywhere where there’s an internet connection.
These cloud-based platforms are oftentimes scalable too, allowing you to easily add more users or courses as your organization’s needs grow.
Think About The Size of Your Pocket
If you’re working with a tight budget, there are several free open-source LMS options available, such as Moodle, ATutor, Dokeos, Sakai, and Claroline. While these no-cost alternatives can help you save money, investing in a commercial LMS software like the ones listed above offer numerous benefits, including expanded functionality, additional features, and access to unlimited support.
Knowing the eLearning software provider you’re going with is just one part of the eLearning equation. But before you even get to explore this route, you need to think about creating content that aligns with your international audience’s needs in the first place.
Effective utilization of an LMS can only occur once the eLearning content localization process has been successfully carried out. Let’s explore what the process entails below!
The 5 Stages of eLearning Content Localization
eLearning content localization is the baseline of the entire course creation process. When offering eLearning services, you are in the business of educating people – at a cost, of course. As such, you’ll have to create content that sells well to the target market.
To do so, you must localize your content to suit the local market’s needs. This means translating your courses into different languages and tweaking them according to the learners’ cultural preferences and expectations.
There are multiple stages to eLearning content localization. The stages are as follows:
1. Defining Your Target Markets
Even before seeking the services of eLearning localization providers, you should identify who your target markets are, the languages/dialects they speak (which will also influence your choice of an LMS as stated above), and their key characteristics.
In order to define the scope of your localization efforts and concentrate your resources where they’ll have the most significant impact, you must clarify which regions or demographics to prioritize. Consider factors such as market size and income level.
For example, if you’re an IT company and wish to expand your courses’ reach, you might decide to target the Indian market given its sheer market size. Alternatively, you could choose a market like New Zealand, which, despite its smaller size, has a significantly higher income per capita. This could mean that learners from that market might be more willing to pay for premium eLearning content.
Finding out the language/dialect of your target geographical location is just as crucial. Expanding into India, for example, will require you to find out which of the many Indian languages (e.g., Hindi or Bengali) to localize your content into.
Another key consideration here is the cultural nuances of the market. Gathering information about your target audience’s cultural preferences and expectations will heavily influence your content creation plan. (Find out more below!)
Therefore, to effectively inform your eLearning localization decisions moving forward, you must conduct some comprehensive market research. Or better yet, have market research professionals who already know your market do it for you.
2. Content Creation
Any content that you create for a specific target market has to be relevant to that demographic. When international markets are concerned, what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander! What we’re trying to say is that content that is relevant to the U.S market could be irrelevant to the Indian market, for example.
Say that you are in fact expanding to India. To make your content more relatable and engaging, you’ll need to include culturally relevant examples and scenarios to the Indian context in your course. For instance, you might acknowledge festivals, traditions, and local customers that’ll help you establish a connection with your learners.
3. User Interface Localization
Remember that you are in the business of trading knowledge. In order to sell, you’ll have to invest in making sure you offer an unmatched user experience. The way you can achieve this is through user interface (UI) localization.
This process involves adapting the UI of the course to suit the linguistic and cultural preferences of your specific target audience.
The UI elements to localize include:
● Menu items & buttons: Menu items and button labels should be localized so they are culturally appropriate and relevant. For example, if your course includes a “Next” button, make sure it’s labelled appropriately in the target language.
● Navigation Elements: Navigation elements like breadcrumbs, tabs, and links require localization too. They should be clearly labelled and logically organized to facilitate ease of movement through the course.
● Icons and Symbols: Icons and symbols are also significant UI components. Therefore, you should ensure they have universal or culturally appropriate meanings. Whatever the case, avoid symbols that might be misinterpreted or offensive in the target culture.
This step is vital, because even great content can’t make up for bad UI. Think about it: If your course isn’t easy to navigate for users in the first place, you might have learners exiting the course before they can begin.
4. Audio Content
If your eLearning content includes audio components, aim to localize those too.
But if your course doesn’t include audio at the moment, ask yourself: “why not?” People have different learning styles, and some learners find it easier to understand and retain information when they hear it. When you add audio, you get to cater to these varying learning preferences, which can encourage better comprehension and retention of the content.
When you localize your audio in particular, you manage to adapt not just the words but also the tone and pitch to make it native-like. This will undoubtedly enhance the appeal and effectiveness of your eLearning course. However, to hit the nail on the head with voice-over localization, you’ll need to hire professional and native voice talent.
5. Graphics and Images
Most eLearning platforms tend to underestimate the critical role of images and graphics in their content, which is a big mistake.
Visual elements hold equal significance to text when learning is concerned; they have the power to enhance comprehension, engagement, and retention of information, which makes them indispensable to any robust eLearning programme.
For this reason, these elements should also be meticulously adapted to suit the nuances of each language they’re presented in.
How to Choose a Professional LSP to Work on Your Translation
When working towards localizing your eLearning course, you need to work with a professional language service provider.
There are dozens of translation agencies to choose from. To find the best professional LSP for your particular project, you need to think of various factors, including:
Your translation project’s requirements: Mapping out your project will give you a clear vision about which markets you’re expanding to. Knowing this will help you pick a LSP that understands your target market and that can handle the translation of your project.
If they offer both translation and localization: You’re looking for a company that provides both content translation and localization services. Relying solely on translation won’t suffice.
Creating a truly effective and engaging learning experience requires you to move beyond just linguistic considerations. Localization takes into account the cultural, social, and regional aspects that shape how people learn and perceive information. That way it ensures that your eLearning content not only speaks the language but also resonates with the culture and expectations of your target audience.
Get Started with Your eLearning Localization Project
Pangea Global offers expert localization services to businesses looking to transcend international borders. Our services range from web & app localization to content translation and localization.